Author : Caitlin Wahrer
Title : Damage
Pages : 400
Publisher : Michael Joseph UK
Publication date : July 8, 2021
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
TONY has always looked out for his younger brother, Nick. So when Nick is badly hurt and it looks like he was the victim of sexual assault, Tony’s anger flares.
JULIA is alarmed by her husband Tony’s obsession with Nick’s case. She’s always known Tony has a temper. But does she really know what he’s capable of?
NICK went out for a drink. After that, everything’s a blank. When he woke up he found himself in a world of confusion and pain, and the man who hurt him doesn’t deny doing it. But he says the whole thing was consensual.
Three ordinary people; one life-shattering event. And when the police get involved, this family in crisis might be capable of anything.
| MY THOUGHTS |
Detective John Rice is dying. Before that happens, he wants to talk to Julia Hall. He has things he needs to get off his chest, a conscience to clear, a sin to be forgiven before he arrives at the pearly gates. And John is sure Julia has things to tell him too. But that means going right back to the beginning and that is three years earlier, when they meet each other for the first time in Julia’s kitchen.
Three years ago. On a night out, Nick meets a charming and handsome man. But things do not end well. The next morning, Nick wakes up in a motel room. Battered, bruised and bloodied, the victim of a violent rape. Where does Nick go from here? His older brother Tony has always looked out for him. Since there is a seventeen year age gap between them, Tony has always acted more like a father than a brother to Nick. And he feels utterly helpless right now. Can Tony keep his temper in check or will he make matters worse somehow?
Caitlin Wahrer seems to me to be one of those authors who is unafraid to take risks and has zero qualms in tackling the tough topics. ‘Damage‘ is her debut and the reader is immediately faced with a storyline that often makes for some uncomfortable reading. Male rape isn’t talked about enough but I’m sure it, unfortunately, happens more than we realise. I can’t even begin to imagine the sense of shame and guilt a male victim deals with. “Surely you should be able to defend yourself. You’re not some defenceless woman.” Insert massive eye roll here. Caitlin Wahrer handles this storyline immensely respectfully and I can’t help but admire her for that.
‘Damage‘ shines a spotlight on the effects of such a violent attack on an entire family. How far would you go to protect your family member? To give them peace of mind or closure so they can pick up the pieces and move on with their lives somehow? How badly would you want to punish the person who’s responsible for this brutality? All of these questions are immensely thought-provoking.
Obviously there are some descriptions that aren’t pretty but Cailtin Wahrer does an incredible job with this story. These characters will grab you by the collar and will not let go and their development is utterly brilliantly done. I couldn’t read fast enough to know what happened to Nick and his case but also to Tony and Julia. And ultimately, what Detective Rice was playing at because for the longest time, I couldn’t at all figure out what the heck he wanted. Switching seamlessly between the various characters, there are plenty of twists to keep you guessing and glued to the pages.
An extremely powerful read about family and the lengths we’ll go through to protect those we love , ‘Damage‘ will stay with me for quite some time. It made me angry and almost weepy. There are moments where it just really hits you right “there”. This is a truly impressive debut from Caitlin Wahrer and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with. Recommended and definitely an author to watch!
My thanks to the publisher for the review copy. My opinions are my own.
20 Books of Summer : 8/20